Performance Evaluations

Performance evaluations, when used effectively, can be tools for identifying and alleviating potential obstacles for and inspiring employees to aim for new heights in performance.

The responsibility for ensuring that performance evaluations are structured and used effectively almost always sits squarely on the shoulders of human resource personnel. But before that, you must make the fundamental decision about whether to have performance evaluations at all. When horribly flawed, performance evaluations can be costly, time-consuming, and may provide employees with damning evidence for an employment claim of some kind (for example, discrimination or retaliation).

When designed and implemented correctly, evaluations can help keep the employee and the company focused, avoid potential problems by increasing communication, inspire and reward employees for their achievements, improve employee morale, help arrive at decisions regarding compensation adjustment, and provide a documented history for succession planning or a legal defense for corrective discipline actions with problem employees.

The key to performance evaluations is that they are conducted successfully. That may seem like easy fodder for a chicken-and-egg argument, but when conducted with clarity, honesty, consistency, and focus, the benefits will almost certainly outweigh any drawbacks. Also, once supervisors are trained in the format of the performance evaluations, the potential benefits spiral outward.

In the end, a company with excellent performance evaluations should expect, as a result of its efforts, increased communication between supervisors and employees, effective methods for rewarding and inspiring productive workers, better trained managers and supervisors, an effective performance history documentation for succession planning, or a legal defense for corrective discipline actions, and much more.

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